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Milk!: A 10,000-Year Food Fracas

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  73 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
Mark Kurlansky's first global food history since the bestselling Cod and Salt; the fascinating cultural, economic, and culinary story of milk and all things dairy--with recipes throughout.

According to the Greek creation myth, we are so much spilt milk; a splatter of the goddess Hera's breast milk became our galaxy, the Milky Way. But while mother's milk may be the essence
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Hardcover, 400 pages
Published May 8th 2018 by Bloomsbury Publishing
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Matt
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Mark Kurlansky, and Bloomsbury (USA) Publishing for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

I remember an advertising campaign from my youth that extolled the virtues and health benefits of drinking milk. It stuck with me and I have tried to present the same positive outlook to my son. When I saw the latest Mark Kurlansky book, all about the history of milk, I could not help but wonde
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Mich Must Read
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thank you to NetGalley and Bloomsbury Publishing for this ARC.

We luxuriate in the richness of yummy butter, or at least I do. There is nothing more delicious to me than a simple croissant, flaky dough that has been laboriously layered with butter, and a cup of coffee. But apparently in certain cultures, I would be called a “butter stinker”. It’s these little tid-bits that I enjoyed in Milk. Milk is a social history that ignites a thoughtful conversation for such a simple product. It follows the
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Chris
Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley

I have to have milk with breakfast unless I am getting breakfast at work. But at home, a glass milk, cold milk, and then coffee. I need that nice cool glass of milk.

But I didn’t know much about milk until I read this book.

Kurlansky’s book is a tour of milk in history, but also a tour of yogurt, cheese, and ice cream.

And it has recipes!

Kurlansky starts with ancient history, exploring when milking first developed as well as pointing out that being lactose intolera
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Patty
I'm a huge fan of Kurlansky. He's probably the most famous writer of microhistories currently, a genre I adore. Microhistories he's written include "Salt" and "Paper", books on oysters and cod, a history of just the year 1968 or the song “Dancing in the Street". You get the idea.

In this book, he takes on milk. Or, well, not only milk; Kurlansky also covers butter, cheese, ice cream, yogurt, and all the other things that can be made out of milk. It's not just cows' milk either! He includes recipe
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Dree
Thanks to netgalley for providing me with a Kindle edition galley of this book.

I have read Kurlansky's Salt: A World History, and actually enjoyed this one much more. Not surprisingly, he uses a similar writing style. Much more of this book, however, focuses on post-1800 history, and on the US. Few cultures really drank milk before the 19th century, and most milk went to cheese and yogurt on a small-scale local basis.

I have also read Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, but had no idea there was a simi
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Dawn Betts-Green (Dinosaur in the Library)
This was an ok read. The first half or so was difficult to slog through because of formatting. Kurlansky includes a ridiculous number of recipes in the early chapters, and while recipes are certainly important to food history, they were poorly integrated. The text was choppy and topics jumped wildly between some paragraphs. The later half of the book was much better—but there were no recipes there. Interesting topic, but not as well put together as his other work. Also not entirely sure what was ...more
Lance L
May 09, 2018 rated it did not like it
"... a book with 126 recipes..."

Almost stream of consciousness rambling broken occasionally by repeated recitations of centuries or millennia old “recipes” which only serve to encrenulate the monotony. I loved Cod. I really liked Salt. I thought Paper was sort of phoned in. This book feels more like it was cut and pasted and forwarded in by tweet.

Full disclosure - could not take it any more. Quit after 4 chapters.
Natalia
May 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Mark Kurlansky is one of the best writers of social/anthropological history, and Milk! continues his success. The history of milk is fascinating and Kurlansky makes it accessible to the public without it being too dry, from the modern dairy industry to different uses of milk around the world. There are some interesting recipes too!

Thanks to Netgalley and Bloomsbury USA for an advanced copy of this book.
Holly Senecal
May 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
As someone who lives in dairy country in Vermont I was curious how Mark Kurlansky would handle the industry in his book. It was a great history lesson and quite interesting.
Rhonda Lomazow
Apr 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wonderful look a trip through the history of Milk fulll of facts and delicious yummy recipes.Thanks # NetGalley #bloomsbury for advance copy.
Miriam Downey
May 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Remember the advertising campaign, “Milk. It does a body good.” from the 80s and 90s? Or the campaign “Got Milk” where celebrities had milk mustaches? Everything milk is covered in Kurlansky’s newest study of a single food topic and its place in the cultures around the world.

Wow! Who knew that so much fascinating information could be written about such a commonplace topic as milk. Of course, I have navigated the topic in many settings over my last 75 years—from my own birth and childhood, to the
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FernsAndFauna
May 15, 2018 rated it liked it
The format of Milk shares much in common with the ambitious global food histories that Kurlansky undertakes in Salt and Cod. But here, much like with Paper he falls short of his earlier work: Even though his thesis–that milk is the most argued about food in human history–is both imaginative and provocative, his book never marshals sufficient evidence to support his argument. Instead, Kurlanksy moves through milk's history with little regard for chronology or geography; his book lacks even a rudi ...more
Geoffrey
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
(Note: I received an advanced electronic copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley)

Master of microhistory Kurlansky once more takes a ubiquitous part of our daily livings that we never cared to think too much about if at all, and provides more information about it than I thought was imaginable.

Admittedly there are moments where this book will drag a bit. Throughout the book Kurlansky will add in blocks of relevant recipes from throughout history, as he’s done before. However, in this particular w
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Jennifer
Mar 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was given an advanced copy of this book by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I really like this kind of micro history that focuses on a single event or single topic, in this case the history of Milk. This book is a nice mix of history and historic and modern recipes so it's a bit different than some of single topic books but I really enjoyed it. The detailed uses for milk (and all dairy) across cultures, through history, is fascinating and it's interesting to see how the recipes chang
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Jason Paterson
Jun 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: food, non-fiction, history
I became acquainted with Kurlansky's writing when his book Salt was recommended to me. That novel was so expertly crafted, I found myself being amazed by interesting history just about every paragraph. It's the type of story you would want to return to several times. Milk! is written in much the same style, but isn't quite that engaging in practice. This may be because Kurlansky has peppered the book with a greater number of recipes, or it may just be that the history of Milk and dairy products ...more
Patrick Pilz
May 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Mark Kurlansky writes history books on some of the most mundane stuff: Salt, Paper and Cod to name a few. I lovedall these books, so I was very intrigued by one about milk. The dairy industry is certainly a target market in my profession. I was a little disappointed, but probably just because is compared this book to the previously published. It is comparatively short, filled with at times to lengthy and detailed recipes, which seem to be more like fillers to make the book complete.

It still prov
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Tammy Buchli
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very entertaining history of milk (and dairy in general). Very readable, not at all dry or pedantic. Seemed very well researched, with an extensive bibliography. Poorly cited, though, since the author chose not to do footnotes. While I understand this was probably in the interests of keeping the book accessible for the general reading public, I found that to be a flaw. A bibliography isn't enough for me in a book of this nature -- I like to know where exactly where a particular claim or quote or ...more
Stuart Miller
May 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-cpl-copy
Lots of interesting facts and details about milk--its history, production, uses, cultural aspects, etc. worldwide (although there is little on Latin America). Unfortunately, it suffers from the lack of a single narrative arc. Organizing it by historical periods or geographic areas would have made for a better read. Still, there is a lot here of interest to anyone interested in food history and, for the adventurous cook, the author reproduces many period recipes from classical times to modern day ...more
Astrid
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Very interesting history. Did you know you can't turn human breast milk into cheese? And did you know that milk wasn't drunk for the longest time, just used to make cheese, butter and yogurt? And if you think about it, people think nothing of drinking cow's milk but wouldn't think of ever entertaining the possibility of drinking human breast milk. Well, regular milk is a cow's breast milk. It's a really entertaining story with a bunch of old and weird recipes enclosed.
Nick Ertz
May 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
There is a lot of time to cover. This is not an exciting book, too much "and then this and then that" to make it very engaging. Nevertheless, it is interesting to note that milk has been debated since the beginning. First, which is better, cow or goat or camel or buffalo or... Then, why does everyone die after drinking this milk? Yet, who doesn't like a good piece of cheese?
Jocelyn
May 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
Lots of repetition and I have serious problems with books that claim to be part of the field of history and then do not have any citations for anything that they are quoting or writing. Could have been about 200 pages shorter and the last chapters were the more interesting ones, dealing with the more recent/modern controversies regarding milk.
Mimi
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
Loved Cod and Salt; Milk, not so much. Kind of dull, actually.
Marge
Jun 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book is almost overwhelming with milk facts. I found that I had to put it down after almost every chapter because of information overload. Not my favorite Kurlansky read.
Scott
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, technology, food
I rarely give a book 5 stars but this one deserves it. It talks about Milk what we consider one of the basic food groups and how it has and is impacting how we eat.

Marla
May 29, 2018 rated it liked it
I learned a lot about one of my favorite foods. For instance, lactose tolerance is the abnormality.
Debbie's Book Vlog
Jun 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Some interesting history on milk but I got bored quickly
Jason Park
May 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
You will never again overlook dairy products after this entertaining deep dive for food lovers and history lovers alike. My full review: http://medium.com/@jpark_21/milk-a-1...
Jennie Rosenblum
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was incredibly researched and easy to read. It was filled with interesting facts and my poor husband heard a lot of them over the past weekend. Like did you know Almond Milk is not something new! It has been around forever. Also, some countries mix milk with beer? The author includes many recipes that were just as interesting to read as the narration – My favorite was a cheese one that started with – Fresh milk from 12 cows! I now thoroughly understand pasteurization as well as the mov ...more
Cat
Feb 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love dairy anything! Milk, cheese, butter, yogurts, kefir, fermented.... But I never knew how interesting a subject it could be! I enjoyed this little trip through time about milk and the recipes are amazing! Just sorry the book didn't cover fermented milk... I thought it was a neat twist that us lactose tolerant folks might well be the odd ones out as most of the plant is intolerant of lactose. Never really gave it a thought until the author mentioned it! This was a fun read and I'd recommend ...more
Robert D. Payne IV
rated it liked it
Jun 03, 2018
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Mark Kurlansky (born 7 December 1948 in Hartford, Connecticut) is a highly-acclaimed American journalist and writer of general interest non-fiction. He is especially known for titles on eclectic topics, such as cod or salt.

Kurlansky attended Butler University, where he harbored an early interest in theatre and earned a BA in 1970. However, his interest faded and he began to work as a journalist in
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More about Mark Kurlansky
“is significant that the first attempt to build a refrigerator in the United States was undertaken for keeping butter (as opposed to what happened in Australia, where in 1853 James Harrison, a Scot who had moved there, developed the first really fully functional refrigerator and used it for chilling beer).” 0 likes
“The most famous ice cream shop in Italy, and now the oldest continuously operated café in the world, was Florian in Piazza San Marco in Venice. It was opened in 1720.” 0 likes
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